SAT-DEFO - warning system for inhabitants of areas threatened by ground deformations

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Objectives of the service

The SAT-DEFO service is an independent source of reliable, direct and immediate information about the mining-induced ground deformations. It will inform customers (citizens and/or local authorities) about changes that affects their real estates, and guide them through the compensation process, if needed. The service is aimed at selling ‘information’ accompanied with some ‘knowledge’ regarding what shall be the next actions of the customers. E.g. the reports will propose some further actions to the customers depending on the occurrence and scale of ground deformations.The service covers time period from 2014 up to the current date. Different functionalities can be provided:

  • Full map of subsidence for a whole municipalities, also divided per land plot
  • Report or ready-for-court opinion on historical ground deformations of a specific land plot together with information of which mine could be responsible and what can be the next actions, for example related to compensation process
  • Current alerts if a subsidence will occur on a specific land plot during the subscription of a service together with the information on a scale of the deformations
  • Leads for law offices or renovation companies 

Users and their needs

The key customers segments targeted by the SAT-DEFO service are:

  • User group A: citizens of the mining areas,
  • User group B: local authorities of the mining areas,
  • User group C: renovation and law companies.

The specific characteristics of our product/service that will address the identified customer problems/needs (a value that the product or service offers to its customers) can be summarized as follows:
User group A:

  • Additional documentation which supports citizens’ discussions with a mine related to damages
  • Guidance in the process of getting compensation and letting citizens know when they should do that
  • Helping neighbours in the process of compensation takes too much time and attention; they would like to help but maybe decrease their ‘cost’ in it

User group B:

  • Provide citizens with open and free information on subsidence phenomenon on the local geoportal
  • Lack of objective source of information about the real subsidence phenomena (beside the data from the mine)

User group C:

  • Lack of customers

Service/ system concept

The intended SAT-DEFO web application will deliver data-proven, valid, historical and current information about mining-induced ground deformations. The service will be based on satellite SAR imagery from Sentinel-1 mission to generate subsidence maps of the analyzed regions and then will automatically deliver the information in form of reports or alerts to the customers. The pilot system to be deployed in the proposed activity will consist of the elements presented below:

  • database of input data - important part of the SAT-DEFO service will be external data sources (cadastre, map of buildings and maps of mining regions)
  • generation of ground deformations maps - based on Sentinel-1 SAR data, divided per land plot
  • automatic generation of reports - report or ready-for-court opinion on historical ground deformations of a specific land plot together with information of which mine could be responsible and what can be the next actions, for example related to compensation process
  • web interface / mobile application
  • presentation of results, ordering of reports, helpdesk

Space Added Value

The satellite-based Earth Observation asset will be used in the SAT-DEFO service. Specifically, the SAR imagery from Sentinel-1 satellite will be used to generate ground subsidence maps based on differential interferometric processing.
The alternative technologies include ground-based solutions like levelling or GPS measurements. They have, however, a number of limitations comparing to satellite-based measurements: they can cover very limited area for a limited time to be cost-effective; they cannot provide information on the past subsidence phenomena; they are relatively expensive. However, they have also some advantages over satellite-based measurements: they may be more accurate; they can cover also incoherent regions (e.g. forests). Having in mind all those advantages and limitations, we strongly believe that the value proposed by SAT-DEFO is very important. And we have confirmed it during the Feasibility Study. Especially, the possibility of providing information about historical ground deformations is important.


Current Status

An example set of information presented to users in SAT-DEFO

So far, work on collecting user requirements and planning Pilot activities have been completed. SATIM’s representative had many meeting with the potential future users of the service (authorities of municipalities, law offices representatives, citizens of mining areas). The purpose was to present the benefits of performing  ground  subsidence monitoring with satellite data and to encourage them to use the SAT-DEFO system in the future.

The design of the SAT-DEFO system and service architecture has also been completed. Overall system architecture and data/information flow were defined. Sample input data supported by the service have been prepared and tested.

Currently, work is underway on the implementation of the SAT-DEFO system. In the next few months, the first version of the system will be created, which will be released to the users during pilot activities.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 16 April 2020 - Created: 16 April 2020